Memories of Misty - The Long Haul

Misty and Me

A year passed, as years do. With the anniversary of her adoption approaching, I realised that I had to take her back to the vet—and that I needed to give her a name. Up until then, I had only ever called her "Cat" (or "the Cat", depending on the context!) A few times I alternated with "Puss"—and yes, once or twice I'd called her "Tiger" out of habit. But she had been nameless for that whole year. She didn't seem bothered by this state of affairs.

However, both realisations were triggered when I received a friendly reminder card from my vet, saying that "Stray Cat" was due to receive her annual vaccinations. Hmm. She didn't much seem to care what I called her, and I was happy with "Cat", but we needed a name for her Veterinary records, if nothing else. (Besides, I may be the kind of heartless monster who couldn't be bothered to name their cat, but I didn't want the vet to think that!) So, in need of a name, and not being good with names myself, I did the only sane thing: I asked my Mum!

Mum said "Misty", so Misty it is!

She hated the trip to the vet. In fact, it soon became clear that she really hated being in the car—at least when it was moving! She would cry pitifully for the entire short trip to the vet (and back!)

Of course, I went right back to calling her "Cat". Provided I kept her fed, and allowed her to drool in my beard, she didn't seem to mind what I called her. In fact, since she never responded to being called anyway, it barely mattered what I called her...

Oddly, while she never responded to being called, she would always come running to a click of the fingers.

The year she was named was 2002: the year Dad died, and the year I made my first attempt at writing a novel for NaNoWriMo (see My Writing History for all the gruesome details.) By that time, she was well and truly a part of my life; she even had a starring role in the first chapter of that first novel-attempt.

The years rolled on (as they do) and I grew older (as noted earlier, she apparently did not!) During that time she remained remarkably healthy, so while I may not always have been the most attentive of staff ("Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.") I was apparently doing something right. And when I wasn't doing okay, she let me know: at one point I was apparently not giving her enough attention, so she made it a point to quite deliberately jump up on my bed, and pee on me. Twice! (Because I didn't figure out the problem the first time!)

Apart from the occasional neglect, and the occasional pee-attack, things went pretty smoothly.

The biggest problem was the other cats in the neighbourhood. They could get into the house through all the same pathways Misty used—and any time I forgot to close the door between house and garage, I could almost count on having another furry visitor, usually slipping in to raid her food bowls or mark their territory. I tried to keep them out while allowing her her freedom, by replacing the cat-flap in the door with a more expensive one that was lockable one-way or both ways, so that she could at least go out while the other cats couldn't come in. Which sounded good in theory; in practice, she was apparently the only cat in the neighbourhood who flat-out refused to push her way through a cat flap!

The most memorable intrusion we had came on one of the rare nights that the cat actually slept in my room. Those nights became more frequent as she became older. Of course, she never gave up the need to wake up in the night and drool in my ear, or on my face, so such nights generally didn't allow me much sleep, but they kept her happy.

This particular night she was snuggled into my armpit; a few minutes of high-quality drooling onto my shirt had worn her out, and she was fast asleep. I was asleep too—no doubt exhausted from waiting for her to go to sleep! And the other cat wandered into the house through the door I'd forgotten to close; it probably went and finished off her fish first, and then it came wandering into the bedroom and ... well, I guess it did the feline equivalent of inflating a brown paper bag and popping it behind Misty's head. She yowled and scrambled, the other cat yowled and scarpered, and I awoke to a whole lot of yowling, and Misty, claws fully extended in her fright, standing on my face!

Good times!

Comments   

0 #2 Pete Jones 2014-06-19 19:58
Quoting Melfka:
Ahhh! Comments at last! ;)


Yep! :-) Although they don't seem to support nested replies, and I'm gonna have to do some CSS tweaking to get them to match the rest of the page! :-)

Quoting Melfka:
... though I don't really like cats (and they don't seem to be very fond of me), I am more of a dog person.


I always considered myself more of a dog person too -- after all, cats don't seem to be fond of anyone! -- but I figured the cat would be "low maintenance" compared to a dog. Wrong on all counts. She was a lot of work, surprisingly needy "for a cat" ... but she was very affectionate, towards me at least. Definitely my cat... :-) And yeah, maybe one day another one will come along -- there are certainly indications that I'm missing the company -- but so far it's been a year and I'm still in no great rush to get another cat. Or dog. Having no dependents has its advantages... :-)

Quoting Melfka:
I remember when I was learning English and have been told something along the lines of: use "he" for boys, "she" for girls and "it" for animals, this is a rule. It didn't sit well with me, as animals, especially pets, were not "it". Only later I've learned that English-speaking people use he/she as well :).


Yeah, we might use "it" if we don't know the sex of the animal (a thought which led me to wonder whether animals can be transgender; I guess that would require some level of self-awareness, though) but on the whole, if we don't know, we're quite likely to use "he" or "she" anyway. I tend to lean towards "he" for dogs and "she" for cats... The less cuddly an animal is -- the less relatable it is -- the more likely we'll fall back on "it"! :-)

Quoting Melfka:
I loved how you called their "the cat", as our dog was called many things besides multiple versions of her name. To amuse you, the one that got her attention almost immediately was "Children! Supper is ready!" - I can tell you she was always first in the kitchen ;).


Yep, I can see how that would work! :-)

I'm not sure what it was, but I was just never comfortable giving her a "human" name -- and "Misty" came about because I felt bad listing her as "Cat" at the vet! Maybe I'd have felt differently if I'd gotten her as a kitten, but I always had this feeling that she didn't need me to start making up names for her. And she responded equally well to "Misty", "Cat", "Puss", or anything else -- which is to say, hardly at all. For a long time, what actually brought her running without fail was a click of my fingers... (Hmm. Maybe she was originally owned by a Kalahari bushman, and *CLICK* was her name... :-) )

Thanks for your comment. (It was my first! ;-) )
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+1 #1 Melfka 2014-06-18 13:45
Ahhh! Comments at last! ;)

I don't even know why I clicked on this text, I guess something grabbed me in the first few paragraphs. And then I couldn't stop and had to read to the end. Probably because I can somewhat relate to your story, though I don't really like cats (and they don't seem to be very fond of me), I am more of a dog person.

But then... I remember when I was learning English and have been told something along the lines of: use "he" for boys, "she" for girls and "it" for animals, this is a rule. It didn't sit well with me, as animals, especially pets, were not "it". Only later I've learned that English-speakin g people use he/she as well :).

I loved how you called their "the cat", as our dog was called many things besides multiple versions of her name. To amuse you, the one that got her attention almost immediately was "Children! Supper is ready!" - I can tell you she was always first in the kitchen ;).

And in the end, you didn't lose just "a pet". You lost a family member. Anyone who claims otherwise can be punished in the afterlife by having to read a phonebook through the eternity.
I just hope that one day another "Misty" will come around. She or he won't be the same, but maybe will become yet another family member.

PS On the unrealted note, I am not registering to check if the moderation/addi ng comments works properly ;). I hope your Joomla doesn't eat all the letters I typed. ;)
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